BVI Air Saves the Day
- September 30th, 2010
- in Yachting
Making the Most of a Hurricane
You would think that flying would not be in the cards when thinking about a hurricane. In fact, it’s not, says pilot Luke Smith. “Safety is the most important factor in flying; we want to be out of the area completely in case of even tropical storm winds as that low-level intensity can cause trouble. Riding a tail wind is another thing, though,” he said.
So BVI Airways’ decision to fly down to Punta Cana was purely for safety reasons and a good chance not to get cornered in so they could get back safely, too.
Pilots, like sailors, study the weather. Luke and his team admitted they study stormpulse.com as well as other sites. Being notified by the National Hurricane Centre of Hurricane Earl, Luke realized the storm was coming quicker than anticipated, and as the Tower announced a closing, mostly so airport employees could get home to take care of their property, the boys got in their jet and flew down to the Dominican Republic for a few days' rest in tropical surrounds.
They had not been the only ones noticing that Punta Cana was clear of any hurricane path; most of the resorts were full, but the boys found the closest one with vacancies and settled down to the bar for a good meal. Not eavesdropping but keen to socialize, the pilots were quick to notice that the resort was full of stranded people diverted from the storm. Happily chatting about the time off afforded by their situation, they were approached (perhaps they could not help mentioning they were pilots?!) by a concerned lady who was due her own tropical rest, but on Necker Island. Joking aside, Luke announced that he would take the lady back as soon as the path was clear, and if the plane could be filled.
In no time, the boys had 19 passengers desperate to get to the now hurricane shaken but not stirred BVI. So, on came the caps and shirts, and the plane landed the day after with the Tower back up for business, and 19 happy passengers went on to their destinations.
Since then, Luke and BVI Airways have been back to the Dominican Republic which has now become a definite fixture on their chartered options. And as Luke would say, luck just keeps on coming around.
If you would like to fill a plane anytime and trip to other islands including the Dominican Republic, the boys are ready to fly. It's a quick trip, and you might enjoy some of activities down there, but please don’t anyone tell Luke where his hat is. I have it, and I’ll be sitting in the bar wearing it, minding my own business…